Michael Hausfeld, widely recognized for his leadership on competition matters and his groundbreaking cases in human rights law, is the Chair of Hausfeld. Michael’s distinguished career has included some of the largest and most successful class actions in the fields of human rights, discrimination and antitrust law.
Michael has an abiding interest in social reform, and has been a part of some of the most groundbreaking cases in that arena both in the U.S. and around the world. Michael was among the first lawyers in the U.S. to assert that sexual harassment was a form of discrimination prohibited by Title VII, and he successfully tried the first case establishing that principle. He has represented Native Alaskans whose lives were affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and later negotiated a then-historic $176 million settlement from Texaco, Inc. in a racial-bias discrimination case. In Friedman v. Union Bank of Switzerland, Michael represented a class of Holocaust victims whose assets were wrongfully retained by private Swiss banks during and after World War II. The case raised novel issues of international banking law and international human rights law. In a separate case, he also successfully represented the Republic of Poland, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Ukraine and the Russian Federation on issues of slave and forced labor for both Jewish and non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. He has represented individuals and NGOs in litigation alleging liability for aiding and abetting the South African system of apartheid.
Michael has a long record of successful litigation in the antitrust field, on behalf of individuals and classes, in cases involving monopolization, tie-ins, exclusive dealing and price fixing. In the landmark O’Bannon v. NCAA litigation, Michael represented a class of current and former Division I men's basketball and FBS football players against the NCAA and its member institutions, based on rules foreclosing athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. At the conclusion of a three-week bench trial, the Court determined that the NCAA had violated the antitrust laws and issued a permanent injunction as requested by the plaintiffs. He was a member of the ABA Antitrust Section’s Transition Taskforce, which advised the incoming Obama Administration, and has chaired the ABA’s Civil Redress Committee. Michael has been co-lead counsel in antitrust cases against manufacturers of genetically engineered foods, managed healthcare companies, bulk vitamin manufacturers, technology companies, and the world’s largest banking institutions. He is involved in ongoing investigations of antitrust cases abroad and pioneering efforts to enforce competition laws globally. He was the only private lawyer permitted to attend and represent the interests of consumers worldwide in the 2003 closed hearings by the EU Commission in the Microsoft case.
National Law Center George Washington University, J.D., with honors, 1969; Member, Order of the Coif
Brooklyn College, B.A. cum laude,1966
District of Columbia
Co-Chair, ABA Civil Redress Committee, 2012-2013
Co-Chair, ABA Civil Redress Task Force, 2011-2012
Member, Editorial Board - Global Competition Litigation Review, 2011
Member, ABA International Cartel Task Force, 2010
Plaintiffs Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
Adjunct Professor, George Washington University Law School, 1996-1998
Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, 1980-1987
Member, Board of Editors, George Washington Law Review (1968-1969)
In addition, Michael has written extensively in a variety of legal publication over his career, including:
- "Private enforcement, Global Dictionary of Competition Law," Concurrences, Art. N° 86753, Contributor
- "Class Actions & Competition Law, An Overview Of EU and National Case Law," Concurrences e-Competition Bulletin - Special Issue on Class Actions (Aug. 27, 2020), Co-Author with Anthony Maton, David R. Wingfield
- "The Equitable Future of Intercollegiate Athletics," Competition Policy International's Antitrust Chronicle (April 28, 2020), Co-Author with Sathya S. Gosselin, Sarah D. LaFreniere, Eduardo Carlo
- "Litigating Indirect Purchasers Claims: Lessons for the EU from the U.S. Experience," Antitrust Magazine (Fall 2017), Co-Author with Irving Scher, Laurence Sorkin
- "Damage Class Actions After Comcast: A View from the Plaintiffs' Side," Antitrust Magazine (Spring 2016), Co-Author with Irving Scher
- "Antitrust Class Proceedings – Then and Now," Research in Law and Economics (Vol. 26, 2014), [Recipient of Concurrences’ 2015 Antitrust Writing Award for Private Enforcement (Academic) Category], Co-Author with Gordon C. Rausser, Gareth J. Macartney, Michael P. Lehmann, Sathya S. Gosselin
- "The Business of American Courts in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum," Jurist - Sidebar (Oct. 2012), Co-Author with Kristen Ward
- "Prosecuting Class Actions and Group Litigation." World Class Actions, Ch. 26., (Sept. 2012), Co-Author with Brian A. Ratner, et al.
- "Private Enforcement of Antitrust Law in the United States, A Handbook - Chapter 4: Initiation of a Private Claim." (2012) Co-Author with Brent Landau, et al.
- "The Importance of Private Competition Enforcement in Europe," Hackney Publications: Concussion Litigation Reporter, Vol. 1, No. 1, (July 2012), Co-Author with Swathi Bojedla
- "CAT-astrophe: The Failure of 'Follow-On' Actions," American Bar Association's International Cartel Workshop, (Feb. 2012), Co-Author with Brent W. Landau, Sathya S. Gosselin
- "Private Enforcement in Competition Law: An Overview of Developments in Law and Practice in the US and Europe," Bergamo University, (July 2011), Co-Author with Ingrid Gubbay
- "The Contingency Phobia - Fear Without Foundation," Global Competition Litigation Review, Issue 1 (Jan. 2011), Author
- "Competition Law Claims – A Developing Story," The European Antitrust Review (2010), Author
- "Initiation of a Private Claim," International Handbook on Private Enforcement (2010), Author
- "The United States Heightens Plaintiff’s Burden of Proof on Class Certification: A Response," Global Competition Litigation Review (Volume 2 Issue 4/2009), Author
- "Global Enforcement of Anticompetitive Conduct," The Sedona Conference Journal (Fall 2009), Author
- "Observations from the Field: ACPERA’s First Five Years," The Sedona Conference Journal (Fall 2009), Author
- "Twombly, Iqbal and the Prisoner’s Pleading Dilemma," Law360 (Oct. 22, 2009), Author
- "The Value of ACPERA," Law360 (June 2, 2009), Author
- "Collective Redress for Competition Law Claimants," The European Antitrust Review (2008), Author
- "Managing Multi-district Litigation," The Antitrust Review of the Americas (2008), Author
- "A Victim's Culture," European Business Law Review (2007), Author
- "The Toughest Lawyer in America Is On Your Side," Neal Gabler, Playboy Magazine (Feb. 2015)
- "Gangster Bankers - Too Big to Jail," Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Magazine (Feb. 2013)
- "UBS Mea Culpa May Give Libor Antitrust Plaintiffs Upper Hand," Max Stendahl, Law360 (Dec. 2012)
- "DOJ Heralds 'Robust' UBS Deal; Gibson Dunn on Defense," Mike Scarcella, The AmLaw Litigation Daily (Dec. 2012)
- "Documents May Boost Civil Suits - Revelations That Rate-Rigging Succeeded Could Prove Expensive to Banks Facing Litigation," Dana Cimilluca and Jean Eaglesham, Wall Street Journal (Dec. 2012)
- "Banks Facing New Wave of Mortgage Lawsuits," Forrest Jones, Moneynews (Dec. 2012)
- "Where There's a Will, There's a Way," The American Lawyer (March 2012)
- "The Great Gamble," Global Competition Review (March 2012)
WHAT OTHERS SAY
- Hall of Fame since 2020 – described by the Legal 500 as "including individuals who have received constant praise from their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession."
- Recommended Lawyer, Civil Litigation, Class Actions: Plaintiff, Year-after-year
- Top 10 Leading Lawyer in the U.S. representing plaintiffs in antitrust and cartel matters, 2016
"Stationed in the firm’s DC office is talismanic founding chairman Michael Hausfeld, one of most sought-after names in plaintiff-side actions in the US, and an expert in cases involving monopolization, tie-ins, exclusive dealing and price-fixing." (Legal 500 US, Antitrust - Civil Litigation/Class Actions, 2021)
Chambers and Partners
- Band 1, Antitrust: Plaintiff – Nationwide, year-after-year
- Recognized Practitioner, Sports Law – Nationwide in 2019
A source reported, "Michael is in my opinion one of the best lawyers in America, especially with regard to antitrust cases and other complex litigation." (Chambers US, Antitrust: Plaintiff - Nationwide, 2021)
"Michael Hausfeld is a key player in the antitrust space, skillfully handling prominent class actions, often concerning anticompetitive behavior and price manipulation. Sources report: 'What sets him apart is his creativity and strategic sense of how to resolve a dispute to satisfy all sides.'" (Chambers US, Antitrust: Plaintiff – Nationwide, 2020)
"Lauded by market sources as an 'amazing lawyer.'" (Chambers US, Antitrust: Plaintiff – Nationwide, 2019)
"An innovative and a well-respected leader of the antitrust Bar." (Chambers US, Antitrust: Plaintiff – Nationwide, 2018)
- National Practice Area Star, and Local Litigation Star in 2021
"Few would contest that the firm's legacy is credited to firm founder and visionary Michael Hausfeld, the name partner who entrepreneurially built his firm into a zealous plaintiff empire." (Benchmark Litigation, Dispute Resolution, 2021)
- Best Lawyer since 2006
- Antitrust Law
- Litigation – Antitrust
Global Competition Review
- Litigation of the Year - Cartel Prosecution in 2021: an honor he received as part of the In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation case team.
- Named Lawyer of the Year in 2019
Michael is "recognized as one of the best plaintiffs' lawyers in the country" who "consistently brings in the biggest judgments in the history of law" and is "a Washington lawyer determined to change the world – and succeeding." (Global Competition Review Awards, 2019)
Who’s Who Legal
- Thought Leader, Competition: Plaintiff, 2021
- Global Leader, Competition: Plaintiff, 2020
- Global Elite Thought Leader, Competition: Plaintiff since 2019
- Recommended Lawyer, Competition: Plaintiff since 2018
"One of North America's foremost plaintiff specialists in the antitrust space, dubbed a 'legend in the field.'" (Who’s Who Legal, Competition - Plaintiff - Legal Marketplace Analysis, 2020)
"One of the titans of the competition plaintiff space, and is a perennial selection as a Global Elite Thought Leader. He attracts numerous recommendations from peers across North America and Europe for his standout practice, which encompasses antitrust litigation on the part of both individuals and classes." (Who’s Who Legal, Competition - Plaintiff - Legal Marketplace Analysis, 2019)
- Leading Global Litigation Lawyer in 2021
- Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer since 2019
- Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers since 2019
- Leading Lawyer in America since 2013
- Super Lawyer, Antitrust Litigation in Washington, DC since 2007
American Antitrust Institute
- Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement in Private Law Practice, an honor he received as one of the leaders of the In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation case team in 2018.
- Winner, Academic: Private Enforcement category in 2015 for his co-authored article titled, "Antitrust Class Proceedings – Then and Now"
National Law Journal
- Litigation Trailblazer & Pioneer in 2014
- One of just six attorneys named as a Competition MVP by Law360 in 2014.
- Described by one of the country's leading civil rights columnists as an "extremely penetrating lawyer" and by a colleague (in a Washington Post article) as a lawyer who "has a very inventive mind when it comes to litigation. He thinks of things most lawyers don't because they have originality pounded out of them in law school."
- Immediately following the groundbreaking NCAA v. O’Bannon decision in 2015, Michael was named AmLaw Litigation Daily’s 'Litigator of the Week,' citing the "consensus among courtroom observers [was] that Michael Hausfeld…got the best of a parade of NCAA witnesses at trial." Law360 dubbed the trial team led by Michael as "Legal Lions," citing the firm’s historic victory over the NCAA.
- Awarded the Torch of Learning Award by the American Friends of Hebrew University in 2012
- Shortlisted, ‘Attorneys Who Matter’ in the field of Corporate Compliance by The Ethisphere Institute in 2009
- Legal Elite by SmartCEO Magazine in 2009
- Cited by Chambers US, Products Liability category in 2009
- Top 30 "Visionaries" in the Washington legal community by the Legal Times in 2008
- 50 Most Powerful People in DC by GQ Magazine in 2007
- “International World-shakers” list of 40 international lawyers “making waves” in the UK by The Lawyer in 2007
- Fierce Sister Award by The Lawyer in 2007: an honor he received for his work on the Japanese Comfort Women case.
- 100 Most Influential Lawyers by the National Law Journal in 2006
- The New York Times referred to Michael as one of the nation's "most prominent antitrust lawyers," and the Washingtonian named him one of thirty “Stars of the Bar."
- Recipient of the B’Nai Brith Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2002
- One of thirty negotiators profiled in Done Deal: Insights from Interviews with the World's Best Negotiators, by Michael Benoliel, Ed.D.
- Recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Award for Distinguished Service
- Michael received the U.S. Department of Energy Human Spirit Award, presented "in tribute to a person who understands the obligation to seek truth and act on it is not the burden of some, but of all; it is universal."
WHAT OTHERS SAY
Legal 500 US, 2021
Stationed in the firm’s DC office is talismanic founding chairman Michael Hausfeld, one of the most sought-after names in plaintiff-side actions in the US, and an expert in cases involving monopolization, tie-ins, exclusive dealing and price-fixing.
Chambers US, 2021
A source stated, 'Michael is in my opinion one of the best lawyers in America, especially with regard to antitrust cases and other complex litigation.'
Benchmark Litigation, 2021
Few would contest that the firm’s legacy is credited to firm founder and visionary Michael Hausfeld, the name partner who entrepreneurially built his firm into a zealous plaintiff empire.
Chambers US, 2020
A key player in the antitrust space, skillfully handling prominent class actions, often concerning anticompetitive behavior and price manipulation. Sources report: 'What sets him apart is his creativity and strategic sense of how to resolve a dispute to satisfy all sides.'
Who's Who Legal, 2020
One of North America's foremost plaintiff specialists in the antitrust space, dubbed a 'legend in the field.'
Who's Who Legal, 2019
Michael is one of the titans of the competition plaintiff space, and is a perennial selection as a Global Elite Thought Leader. He attracts numerous recommendations from peers across North America and Europe for his standout practice, which encompasses antitrust litigation on the part of both individuals and classes.
Global Competition Review, 2019
He is a Washington lawyer determined to change the world – and succeeding.